This is the time of the year when CEO students feel particularly overwhelmed. At the beginning of the spring semester, they have new classes starting, their class business is coming up, they are thinking about their college plans and just beginning to establish their personal business.
They are feeling the weight of all these things. Often, when we are waist-deep in thick of life, the weight of the world can feel so heavy that we can’t even move. We can’t do anything.
It’s like being in a fog where you can only see 30-feet ahead of where you are. But the good news is that you can see 30-feet ahead. Once you move that distance, you will be able to see the next 30-feet. And the next.
It’s important when you feel overwhelmed like that to break your next steps down, looking at the next thing to do while still keeping your sights set on the outcome of all you are doing.
When you think about the 5 things you have to do 100 times a day, it seems like you have 500 things to do. If you take the time to just write out what you need to do, you'll look at this little bit of chicken scratch, and you'ill say, I sure feel busier than that, but this list is manageable!
With the turning of the New Year, it’s a great time of year to reflect on where you are and where you want to be in your life.
Some people may set a New Year’s Resolution to eat less sugar so they lose weight. Other people know they want to spend more time with their family, so they decide not to work on weekends.
When we set our sights on the future, whether we call it a goal or a resolution, we are looking towards a larger picture that can guide the smaller choices we make in our lives.
Maybe you want to become a better basketball player than you were last year. The answers to your small questions, your daily routine, then become obvious. You shoot free throws in the driveway. You get to practice early for an extra workout. You watch, read, learn and practice because you said you are going to be a better basketball player. And that’s what makes you better.
Let’s say you want to become a better person by accepting others right where they are. Then you can start immediately doing that the next time you meet someone by not placing judgement on where you think they should be, but by meeting them for who and where they are.
You can do the same thing every time you interact with someone: family members, friends, colleagues, everyone. There are all kinds of opportunities to practice that every single day.
And then, after time, that bigger picture becomes a reality because it changes who we are and it becomes natural in what we do every day.
When I went to the premiere of my documentary about World War II, I felt so good about the final product. The town held a lovely premiere where people dressed up and there was a buzz in the air. PBS was ready to pick up the film to air nationally. And I stood in the back of the theater as I watched people enjoy the film.
But the moment the movie was over, the very first person out of the theater came up to me upset that her husband’s story was not one that was chosen in the final cut.
At that point in my life, I knew to expect praise and criticism. And I also knew that the film was a success because I helped people gain some insight into World War II and it also gave the survivors a platform to tell their story.
Over the years of creating music, films and blog posts, I have seen my confidence build with success, but I’ve also gained the understanding that it’s not always the response of a project that makes it a success. Instead, before I even take on or begin a project, I ask myself, who will be better because of this?
As long as I can satisfy myself with that, then it’s not predicated by someone liking my work or it receiving awards. If my work, whatever it is, can make someone better then all the other noise falls away, and I know that I am making something for the right reasons.
Growing up in rural Taylorville, I was raised in a fairly ideal situation. Our home was in a great neighborhood with a bunch of kids. We were a couple blocks from the school where my mom was a secretary before she got her teaching license, so I could walk to school. And I had two sets of parents: my mom and dad and their best friends, David and Gerri.